It has been a funny old year so far. 2016 arrived with the usual fireworks and fun, then January sloped through the door, nothing much happening. No snow, lots of rain, a birthday came and went and now it is the middle of February. Six weeks into the New Year and it is feeling just like the old year. Perhaps this is the way. Maybe things don’t, after all, change with the turn of the calendar.
As I sit in my kitchen it is another grey soggy day. Rain has fallen often this year, and, although we are lucky not to be affected by flooding, the constant dampness does nothing for the spirit.
Yesterday there was a brief break in the clouds, weak sunshine and blue sky above gave the hope of Spring, perhaps it is just around the corner after all. The bulbs in pots certainly think so, they are already standing tall above the earth and have little regard for the lack of sunlight. Perhaps it is always so.
I think it is fortunate that February is the shortest month of all, as it is my least favourite. Weeks between now and warm sunny days, the tiny change in the length of the days does not console me, we are still stuck in Winter. Twenty nine days is long enough. Once March bursts in, blowing away the wintry blues, the days will begin to stretch and the sun remembers to shine through the cloudy skies. But for now we are in the midst of February.
I am wondering if it is just this end of winter blues that is making me feel lost. Somehow I am less sure than I have ever been about who I am and what I should be doing. Autumn and Winter have whizzed past in a whirl of collecting and sending aid to people in need. My email and social media is full of tragedy and heartache. Even the positivity and kindness of strangers, who over this past six months have become friends, is not enough to make my heart stop aching.
I am thinking of the other times, when a younger, braver me juggled house and home, work and play. When children are small, when you are working to make a life it is so easy to forget to remember the life you have. I am struck by the thought of all the beds I used to make, all the meals I used to cook, the mucky faces I wiped and the cuddles we had,all the battles I used to fight, the shirts I have ironed and the love I have been surrounded by. It seems impossible to me that my children are off into the world, making their own lives and although they keep in touch, in some ways, my job here is done.
So, no longer the mother hen, no longer the working parent, not even working anywhere, it is perhaps unsurprising that I do at times feel a little lost. I used to wonder what was the purpose of me, now that the mothering is largely over, now I am no longer employed. I often thought that days spent writing and thinking did not in any way make up for a real purposeful life. In February, in the rain, this feels even more real.
When lost it is always advisable to use a map, to look ahead and to chose the road you are going to take. This is what I am in the process of doing. My map is one of opportunity, the road ahead is full of promise. I need to focus on the future. I may not have my own babies any more but I do have my Granddaughter who brings laughter and love into the room with her every time she arrives at Nana’s house. l need to remember every day spent with this little one. Time with her is pure joy, no juggling work and packing school bags, just love and cuddles and reading stories.
You see it turns out I am not lost after all. I am just on a different road, and this time I am choosing my path carefully. It has taken a while to realise that although this is a new route the journey is one I have done before. I am making memories and friends along the way. I am open to helping others but also I am learning to be selfish. Learning to put me first and to seize the opportunities in front of me. As with every other road taken, the destination will probably not be what was first expected, but one thing I am good at is adapting to the real world and I have every confidence in myself.
So February, you will soon be gone, leaving just a memory of rainy days and cold weather, and as you go I will be feeling the warmth of the sun in preparation for the Spring. I am choosing happy, choosing life and although sometimes still lost, I am loving this journey, for what it is. Life and it really is for living.